Schalmont Middle School student Sean Willis has qualified in the discus and shot put for next week’s National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships at Sacramento State College.
The soon-to-be seventh-grader made the national event by placing first in the discus and second in the shot put earlier this month in the 11-12 age division at Region 1 Junior Olympic Track and Field Championshps at the University at Albany.
“If I work hard and listen to my dad, I believe I can do well,” the 12-year-old Willis said.
Willis’ dad, Jason Willis, will accompany his son to California. The seven-day national meet begins Monday, and Sean Willis will compete in the shot put Thursday and the discus the following Sunday.
“He’s excited and a little nervous,” Melissa Diamond Willis said of her son, who also plays football and basketball. “He’s been to several meets, but never anything this big.”
At the Region 1 event, the unattached Willis won the discus with a throw of 71-4, beating out Detton St. Paul, who went 64-4. No other competitors cleared 60 feet.
Willis placed second in the shot put at the Region 1 meet with a 311⁄2-foot throw. St. Paul, who is a member of the Thrower Nation Club in Chappaqua, won with a 31-103⁄4.
“My best in the discus is 77 [feet] and my best in the shot put is 37,” Sean Willis said. “I think I can go farther.”
Willis won both the shot put and discus in June at the Adirondack Junior Olympic Trials at Schuylerville High School. Athletes representing Adirondack, Connecticut, Long Island, Maine, New England and New York City competed at the Region 1 national qualifier at UAlbany.
Willis is the younger brother of Devon Willis, a former three-sport star at Schalmont who is currently a member of UAlbany’s track and field team.
“My husband coached our first son [Devon], and he’s been working with our little guy the last four or five years,” Melissa Diamond Willis, said. “They work well together.”
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette: